QCS Senior Writer
A connection to history, the neon appeal and the nostalgia of the Mother Road, Route 66, inspired a Dallas, Texas, couple to move to Tucumcari, and to purchase and restore the former Royal Inn Motel.
“We want to have a part in restoring a part of Route 66 and possibly spark another person’s enchantment with the Mother Road,” said David Brener, who, along with his wife Amanda, owns the old Royal Inn, now called the Roadrunner Lodge.
Brener said the Royal Inn was once two separate hotels that shone along Tucumcari’s stretch of Route 66. The eastern portion was once called the Leatherwood Manor. The west side was the La Plaza Court. The properties later combined to form the Royal Inn.
“Its a long process and we are pushing hard to open within the next three weeks,” Brener said, but said that timeline is very optimistic.
Brener said the plan is to open the main lobby and the main building with rooms available on both of its floors. On the south building, he said, he hopes those rooms will become available within the next three years.
In addition, Brener said, he and Amanda plan restore the old La Plaza Court as a separate motel that will have more of a 1940’s feel.
“There is some beautiful tile work in the bathrooms in the west side of the building,” Amanda Brener said of the La Plaza Court. She said she and David decided to purchase a motel along Route 66 about a year ago, having stayed in Tucumcari motels along Route 66 including the Blue Swallow, Motel Safari and Route 66 Motel. Each has its own character, she said, and that reinforced their decision to buy a motel along Tucumcari’s stretch of the Mother Road.
“With all that we have had to do and still have to do with this project, it has proven to be a far better choice than our original choice,” David said.
David said the Breners had considered property in Holbrook, Ariz., but could not reach an agreement with the owner. Then, he said, they saw that the price on the Royal Inn had dropped. After two days of negotiating, he said, the Breners purchased the property.
The lower price, David said, “will allow us to put more towards the renovations. In a way, it was a blessing the other deal didn’t pan out.”
The Breners have been working feverishly to complete repairs on the Roadrunner Inn’s roof, water lines and the rooms.
Amanda said there have been some “hiccups.”
“So far,” she said, “we have addressed stolen copper and restored hot and cold water to the main building and are on track with repainting and refurbishing those rooms.”
Because of other construction going on in town, she said, it has been hard to find licensed workers for some of the repairs.
“There is no other choice but to wait for a licensed worker in order to ensure the repairs are done correctly,” she said.
The rooms of the Roadrunner Lodge will have 1960’s decor and fixtures but will feature modern amenities, including flat-panel TVs and wi-fi, David Brener said.
“We want people to get a true feeling of what it was like to stay in a motel of that era while enjoying the comforts of the present,” he said.